On October 26, 1979, President Park Chung Hee, who had ruled South Korea since a 1961 coup, was assassinated by Kim Jae Kyu, his director of intelligence. The film depicts the events of that night, with a coda about the fate of each conspirator. While Park dines in the Blue House with two associates and two young women, Kim carries out his plot. He talks briefly of bringing democracy; mostly he seems irritated. The other assassins seem without motive beyond following orders. The killings are bloody, the aftermath equally disorderly and haphazard. Can major events of history be so mundane, so nearly comic? Written by
I saw this recently at the Toronto International Film Festival to a packed house with the director present. I liked it.
It comes across as a fictionalized account of the events leading up to the the 1979 president's assassination. It was believable, suspenseful, and occasionally funny, if you can imagine that! This was the work of someone who really cared to bring a defining historical moment into the modern psyche, to raise some important questions about Korean society.
In my mind, this is what movies should be about -- defining moments of time. And crafting a story that allows the viewer to be drawn into the circumstances, to be shown a view of how things may have happened without being dogmatic or overly judgmental. Kudos to the director to crafting an even-keeled drama that, I suspect is accessible to a large international audience.
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